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E-libel can be abused by powerful people–lawyer

/ 01:29 PM October 23, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The recent arrest of anti-mining advocate Esperlita “Perling” Garcia over libel charges for posting critical comments on Facebook against a local government official in Cagayan demonstrated what cyber libel can do to ordinary people, lawyer and Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance member Argee Guevarra said Tuesday.

In an interview with Erwin Aguilon of “Dyaryo sa Radyo” on Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Guevarra said the arrest of Garcia, also known among netizens as Cyber-Perling, has exposed the negative effects of the libel law.

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IN SUPPORT OF PERLING. Netizens created this Facebook page to support Esperlita Garcia, who has been sued and arrested for libel for taking her opposition to mining to cyberspace. SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK

“This shows that libel law in the Philippines is being abused by powerful people,” he said, adding that Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s statement on the matter apparently shows his support for the “powerful” class.

Guevarra said they will use Garcia’s case in their nationwide educational campaign to show the public the evils of e-libel law.

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Garcia was arrested Thursday and released Friday after posting a P10,000 bail over alleged violations of the Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code filed by Gonzaga Mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr.

Militant youth group Anakbayan considered Garcia a casualty of the electronic libel law, but Lacierda denied the claim.

In her post, Garcia allegedly bared Pentecostes’ role in the harsh dispersal of people who were meeting inside a school compound for a planned anti-mining rally on April 30.

TOPICS: Cybercrim Prevention Act, infotech, News
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